Archie Sales Figures (Almost Complete)

It’s time for part two of looking at Archie sales figures. I’ve copied over the numbers from the previous post. Remember, these are the Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation figures that Archie files with the government. The first number is the Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months; the second is No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date.

Title Average    Nearest Issue
Archie #581 27,498 28,885
Archie & Friends #116 14,699 13,143
Betty #171 12,731 13,295
Betty & Veronica #233 16,982 18,083
Betty & Veronica Spectacular #81 12,234 11,457
Jughead #187 13,645 12,319
Sabrina the Teenage Witch #91 13,534 12,029
Sonic the Hedgehog #184 34,694 34,696
Archie Digest #241 71,637 96,788
Archie’s Double Digest #185 96,887 104,056
Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest #118     85,587 98,753
Betty & Veronica Digest #181 54,636 61,628
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #158 96,971 108,354
Jughead and Friends Digest #26 46,247 48,842
Jughead’s Double Digest #137 82,108 91,261
Tales From Riverdale Digest #27 54,219 59,486

This is now all of the Archie titles except for Veronica (which should have the figures in #187, which I haven’t received yet) and Sonic X (should be #30, not yet released). Update: Here are the Veronica numbers.

Let’s do some (very basic) analysis. Here are the titles in order of best- to worst-selling based on average sales (the first number).

  1. Betty & Veronica Double Digest
  2. Archie’s Double Digest
  3. Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest
  4. Jughead’s Double Digest
  5. Archie Digest
  6. Betty & Veronica Digest
  7. Tales From Riverdale Digest
  8. Jughead and Friends Digest
  9. Sonic the Hedgehog
  10. Archie
  11. Betty & Veronica
  12. Archie & Friends
  13. Jughead
  14. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
  15. Betty
  16. Betty & Veronica Spectacular

I suspect that Veronica’s solo title will be down there in the bottom, too. The last title listed is the magazine-format one, by the way. As expected, the digests do better than the comic-format titles, and the bigger books are more popular than the smaller. Digests are 96 pages for $2.59; double digests are 192 for $3.69, making them the best deal out there in newsstand comics, especially now that DC and Marvel are pushing the $3.99 barrier (for 32 pages, usually with “upgraded” cover). The top-selling digest sells roughly three times the top-selling comic, and in issues, Sonic sells 6-7,000 more than the top Archie book.

Sorting by most recent sales, the only changes are that Archie Digest and Jughead’s Double Digest swap places and, surprisingly, Betty jumps up three places to wind up ahead of Archie & Friends. That’s significant in light of this next measurement. I’m looking at percentage growth based on comparing the average figure to the (usually higher) most recent issue figure.

Archie growth graph

Here’s the books in order:

  1. Archie Digest — over 35% growth
  2. Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest — this and the next three show double-digit growth of 11-15%
  3. Betty & Veronica Digest
  4. Betty & Veronica Double Digest
  5. Jughead’s Double Digest
  6. Tales From Riverdale Digest — here it drops to single-digit rises
  7. Archie’s Double Digest
  8. Betty & Veronica
  9. Jughead and Friends Digest
  10. Archie
  11. Betty
  12. Sonic the Hedgehog — effectively zero point, no change
  13. Betty & Veronica Spectacular — here’s where the declines start, down 6.4%
  14. Jughead — down 9.7%
  15. Archie & Friends — down 10.6%
  16. Sabrina the Teenage Witch — down 11.1%

Now, I have no idea if that stat means anything. These numbers might be seasonal, or my assumption that one wants the most recent to show growth compared to last year’s average might be too simplistic. I do note, however, that Sabrina is in the middle of a lengthy storyline pushing towards issue #100, and Archie comics traditionally do best with stand-alone stories, not continuing. I also see that some of these latest issues include an ad promoting an upcoming World Tour storyline in Archie & Friends #117-120.

If anyone knows more stats than I do, I welcome more conclusions. And if anyone has access to the Veronica number, please let me know so I can update the lists.

10 Responses to “Archie Sales Figures (Almost Complete)”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Feb. 26, 2008: Thank God for Dullsville Says:

    […] Speaking of which: Johanna Draper Carlson is compiling Archie Comics sales figures based upon circulation figures filed with the government […]

  2. Kiki Says:

    I know zero about stats – numbers make my eyes cross – but the list based on what’s selling most actually corresponds pretty much with what the kids are checking out here in my library. With the exception of Sonic (the original book, not Sonic X – which has fewer fans than I expected for some reason) and Sabrina. I have waiting lists for those books when they appear. And Sonic, which has always done well, has actually experienced a bump within the last few weeks as the 4th grade boys have finally figured out that if you read the issues in order the story is even cooler. :)

    I have several 5th and 3rd grade girls who are into the B&V Digests and they have literally said they prefer to get those to the single issues because there’s more to read. And as a side note Archie & Friends had a higher readership when it was carrying the Katy Keene stories. Now that they’re no longer being published, the issues go out less.

    Don’t know if any of this really ties in to what you’re doing, but I thought you might find it interesting.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oh, definitely! That’s great to hear, actual experience with kids. And I love your word pictures, especially about the 4th grade boys. :)

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